May 5, 2024, 12:24 PM
Journalist ID: 1844
News ID: 85466085
3 Persons


Fact-checking BBC's report on an alleged murder

May 5, 2024, 12:24 PM
News ID: 85466085
Fact-checking BBC's report on an alleged murder

Tehran, IRNA – The Islamic Republic News Agency has published a thread on X to reveal why the British media suddenly decided to investigate the late 2022 riots in Iran.

Fact-checking BBC's report on an alleged murder

What happened actually?

After almost two years since the October 2022 riots in Iran, BBC News (formerly BBC World News) in its report entitled "Secret Documents on Sexual Assault and Killing of a Protesting Teenager by Iran's Security Forces" claimed to have obtained documents, in which, several security forces admitted that they had assaulted and killed a person named Nika Shakarami.

Shakarami was a teenage girl who died at the time when there were riots in Iran and official reports, including the forensic details, surveillance images and her own posts on Instagram, testified that she threw herself from a high-rise and committed suicide. Nika's case was naturally attractive for the Western media because the deceased was a female and in young age, so they could play with the public sentiment and provoke emotions on the issue.

After the broadcast of this report by the BBC on April 30, 2024, the documents provided by the news network became a source of humor in the Iranian media because they found gross errors in the alleged documents. Thereafter, the BBC raised two more issues which intensified the attacks on the broadcaster’s alleged report: First, the BBC claimed that it had redacted and altered the documents to protect the identity of the whistleblowers. Second, it stated that the documents had some contradictions and therefore, in order to verify their authenticity, the BBC contacted an Iranian security official who assured the broadcaster about their genuineness.

After CNN published a report about sexual assault against Armita Abbasi – one of the leaders of Iran riots who was arrested for possessing a Molotov cocktail and planning to attack military centers – it was proved in a Twitter thread that the report was completely baseless and was published in line with the media war against Iran.

Right now, at a time when the US government is severely suppressing pro-Palestinian students, the BBC has claimed in a report that Iranian security forces sexually assaulted a suspect during the riots.

So far, three so-called investigative reports about the death of Shakarami have been published on CNN, BBC and German publication Die Zeit, which gravely contradict one another.

The CNN report said the last video of Shakarami was recorded at 20:37, but the BBC report said she was arrested at 20:15. Both reports say that she was arrested on the night of September 10, 2022, while this is denied in Zeit's report.

The Zeit report says Shakarmi was in contact with a girl named Nele in Germany late at night on September 10 and at 2:10 in the morning on September 11, which actually discredits the BBC documents because it claims that hours earlier, she was arrested and her mobile phone was seized!

These contradictions show that at least two of these three media outlets are feeding a series of lies as investigative reports.

Fact-checking BBC's report on an alleged murder

The claim of confidentiality of these documents is shown only by a typed text in the header of the paper, which is not common in confidential administrative letters in Iran. There is no trace of date nor official seal of secrecy on the document.

The issue becomes clearer when users in Persian social media space protested that the BBC documents were fake, after which the BBC Persian’s account, about four hours after publishing the report on its account, reacted to the protests by saying that it had “reconstructed” the documents.

BBC published this article on its Persian language account while the original report was published in English on BBC World Service.

Fact-checking BBC's report on an alleged murder

Another flaw that the BBC tries to cover up is referring the Iranian police by the abbreviation “Naja”, while it was changed from "Naja" to "Faraja" a year earlier, and the organization is referred to by its new name in all official and administrative correspondence. In order for the audience not to protest this gross flaw, the BBC admits the flaw of its so-called document, “The document on which our investigation focuses contains several contradictions. For example, the police force is mentioned as 'Naja' while it was called 'Faraja' at that time."

In order to prove that its documents are not fake, the BBC talks with a “security officer of the IRGC Intelligence Organization,” whose name and face have not been revealed. This is the same fallacy that the New York Times used in a fake news about the health condition of Iran’s Supreme Leader. In this method, in order to prove something, reference is made to a person whose authenticity cannot be proven and there is no way to verify the claim.

The forger of these documents had very little information about the IRGC and the administrative mechanism of this organization.

Dealing with such accusations of military personnel is the responsibility of the IRGC Intelligence Protection Department, not the IRGC Intelligence Organization! The IRGC Intelligence Organization cannot enter into the accusations of the IRGC forces under any circumstances!

However, according to the documents published by the BBC, the interrogation and investigation of the accused was conducted directly by the IRGC Intelligence Organization and the report of that investigation was given to the IRGC’s chief commander by the IRGC Intelligence Organization’s chief. This is against the rules and regulations of the IRGC and even other Iranian military forces.

Fact-checking BBC's report on an alleged murder

Following that, X users in Iran mocked other contradictions in this report. For example, in this image, which simulates fake BBC documents, they inquired how Shakarami was arrested and raped at five o'clock, but at 11:30 pm on the same day, she called her mother and said that the officers were looking for her.

These false claims have been raised despite the fact that the girl’s body was recovered from the yard of a building after local people reported to the police. Law enforcement and the judiciary officers immediately arrived at the scene, and after preliminary investigations, they guessed that she fell from the building since her backpack was on the rooftop and cigarette butts lying next to her belongings. But, considering the rumors of rape, they did not rely on their guess and handed over the body to the forensic organization for further investigation. This organization, which is in charge of examining the dead bodies, explicitly denied the rape claim and in its official report dated November 1, 2022 said, "There were no signs of rape or sexual intercourse when the genital area was examined."

After examining the CCTV cameras around the building from where the body was recovered, the police, too, released a video confirming Nika's entry to the building at 00:03 AM on September 21, 2022, whereas according to the BBC’s claim, security officers had left Nika's dead body on the road at 1:00 AM on September 21, 2022. On the other hand, according to the judicial investigation, Nika's last phone messages to her mother indicate her deteriorating mental state, and according to Nika's close friend, she had talked about suicide many times before.

After extensive and multi-stage investigations, the judicial apparatus concluded that the tragic story of Shakarami's death was unfortunately a successful suicide attempt.

These official and legal reports completely reject claims by the BBC News. 

Publishing fake news against Iran is not a new issue. What seems to be new in the last year is how prominent media outlets in the West entered into the field of fake news against Iran. Spreading lies such as the sexual assault claim against Armita Abbasi on CNN, the news of deteriorating health condition of Iran’s Supreme Leader on New York Times, Reuters' claim regarding Ayatollah Khamenei's complaint against Hamas members, and other such cases, which were exposed as false, is an issue whose root cause is beyond the scope of this article.

Fact-checking BBC's report on an alleged murder

Now a question persists that in a situation where the world is witnessing a full-scale genocide with the killing of 40,000 people in Gaza, what organizations and groups have forced the BBC to enter into this gamble and what purpose were these institutions trying to achieve?

It seems that the BBC committed 2 big mistakes with this report: Firstly, it damaged its credibility, and secondly, it did not achieve its goal of diverting public attention from Israel's crimes, because the killing of 40,000 people, nearly half of whom are children, cannot be covered up by using a fake report about what happened during riots in Iran some two years ago.


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